FESTIVE BLACK FOREST CHEESECAKE

kmi955

Ingredients

For the Crust

1/2 cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 teaspoon water
1/2 teaspoon Pure Instant Coffee Granules
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For the Filling:

5 pkgs. (8 oz. each) cream cheese
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
5 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
1 teaspoon water
1 teaspoon Pure Instant Coffee Granules
1 jar (16 oz.) maraschino cherries, divided, juice reserved

For the Topping:

2 teaspoons cornstarch
Reserved juice from cherries
3 tablespoons Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 500° F. Set roasting pan half full of water on lower rack of oven. Grease 10-inch springform pan.

For the Crust:

MELT morsels and butter in medium, uncovered microwave-safe bowl on HIGH (100%) power for 1 minute; STIR. Morsels may retain some of their shape. If, necessary, microwave at additional 10- to 15- second intervals until melted. Combine water and instant coffee granules in very small bowl; stir to dissolve.

Add coffee, graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar and cinnamon to chocolate mixture; mix well. Press on bottom and 1 inch up side of prepared pan.

For the filling:

Beat the cream cheese in large mixer bowl, or in a stand mixer until light and fluffy. Add sugar; mix well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in vanilla extract. Reserve 1/3 cup batter. Pour remaining batter into prepared crust.

Melt morsels in uncovered small microwave-safe bowl on HIGH(100%) power 1 minute; STIR. If necessary, microwave at additional 10- to 15-second intervals until melted.
Combine water and instant coffee in very small bowl; stir to dissolve. Combine melted chocolate, reserved 1/3 cup cream cheese mixture and coffee. Stir until smooth using wire whisk. Spread mixture on top of batter. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup finely chopped cherries. Gently swirl with a thin knife. Place cheesecake on baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce temperature to 200° F.; bake for 1 hour or until knife inserted in the center comes out with a creamy coating. Turn off oven and let cake cool in oven for 1 1/2 hours. Remove cake from oven. Cool on wire rack for 30 minutes. Refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours or overnight.

For the Topping:

Combine the cornstarch and reserved cherry juice in small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until thickened . Cool completely. Stir in remaining cherries.

Assemble:

Remove the side of springform pan. Cover top of cheesecake with cherry topping. Place morsels in small, heavy-duty plastic bag. Microwave on HIGH (100%) power for 30 seconds; knead. Microwave at additional 10- to 15-second intervals, kneading until smooth. Cut small hole in corner of bag. Squeeze to drizzle over cherry topping.

Or, Ice the cheesecake with your favorite cream cheese topping. Drizzle with chocolate as desired and decorate with additional cherries if desired.

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